Yin and Yang

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Yin and Yang

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book-112747_640My caregiving story is far from over even though my mom is settling nicely into the nursing home after three weeks. She is eating supper in the dining room with the other residents, getting fitted for an additional leg brace and starting some physical therapy and according to the staff she is a pleasure.

Of course when I walk in her room she immediately finds all sorts of things for me to do for her which I gladly do. Mother/daughter or caregiver/caree that is all a mish mash of emotions and always will be. I told her on Monday that we were not taking her with us to my in-laws for Thanksgiving (we go there every year and she went with us last year). She was delighted! She really has no desire to go anywhere which I have learned to accept. It bothers other people though.

While I was there, I spoke with the physical therapist and she mentioned how weak my Mom's legs are and stated that she needs "maximum assistance". It made me feel better about the fact that I knew I could not keep providing that assistance and the nursing home opening happened at the right time. My husband is a little hurt that she does not want to spend the holiday with us. My sister called me to make sure they would fix a Thanksgiving dinner at the nursing home. Duh! I did not ask if she would make an appearance. My family used to get together when my Mom was able-bodied and would cook the whole dinner, load it in her car and take it to them. Kind of explains how they got to be like they are! I used to help her do Easter but I put an end to that years ago after the two of us cooked all the food, dyed and hid the eggs and they showed up late with nothing but excuses about why they forgot to bring a dish. So tired of the disrespect and dysfunction. I cried the whole way home.

On to what I still have to accomplish...

The utilities at my mom's house an hour away are being turned off in 10 days. My brother (who always lived with my Mom) but never took care of her or himself financially has not started moving out yet. He is moving in with friends. I went up and got all of the rest of my mom's photographs and memories which are in the trunk of my car. Feels weird to be riding around with someone's life moments. I bring in some every day and sort through.

Her house as usual was filthy. I vacuumed the whole house before I left. My husband said NO but I did it anyway. My brother is still in denial about leaving. He keeps hoping he is going to get disability at some point. I stay out of all of that. If the house does not sell by the end of December when the listing is up I have to deal with foreclosures from loans at two different banks. My mom gets to keep 30.00 out of her Social Security per month which is kept in an account for her at the nursing home. The nursing home gets the rest, which is not a lot and Medicaid pays the difference. I am praying for the house to sell so her loans will be paid off and I will not have to deal with her creditors.

So, today, I am particularly angry because when I called to see if my brother who is 54 years old got his free cell phone in the mail he complained about the small buttons on the phone. I should have just hung up on him. He was eligible for the phone because he is on food stamps. I applied for the food stamps for him while my mom was here with me and the phone just recently, because he asked for my help. I will never help him financially as that is the main reason he is in this situation. I will say tough love does suck especially when no one else is helping you dole it out (Mom and two other siblings). He is also driving my mom's car so that will be another story for later.

I will try to end on a more upbeat note. I have been working for the temporary agency that I worked for before the caregiving saga at my house started, back at a place where I would love to get a permanent job. I worked a couple of days last week and am working one day next week. This employer provides great benefits and loyalty to their employees. My hope is to be able to cover my husband on my health insurance so he can slow down and retire before reaching full retirement age. That was always the plan since he is a couple of years older and when he survived cancer it reinforced my wish to help him achieve that goal.

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Jean

Hi Bootsie, I'm so glad things are going good with the transition for you and your mom. But oh boy, all the legwork and time it takes to deal with a house and finances. And your brother, oh can I relate. I have a sister who is just the same, She expects others to take care of her every whim. I too have had the tough love stance with her, but my sisters struggled to totally cut her off… my dad enabled her for years. She too was in denial that she had to leave when mom went into the nursing home and didn't get pack her stuff. Finally my other sibs had to pack her up as house went up for sale. Then she got pissed off that she didn't know where they put things and that they threw out junk. But she was nowhere to help. It is so frustrating to deal with a sibling like that. She did finally get her wish to be on disability… she took such poor care of herself until she had multiple health issues by age 45 … she is now 55.

Denise

I soooo hope a permanent job comes through for you. I completely agree with Pegi--I find you to be such a comforting soul that I can only image how much comfort you bring to your family. Thanks for sharing that comfort with us. :)

Hussy

Hi Bootsie, I'm so glad your mother is settling in well at the nursing home. It can be a rough transition but she seems to be handling it very well. Your situation is a good reminder than even when the caree goes to a nursing home, the caregiver's work is far from over.

LilMagill

Bootsie, I'm glad that the transition is going well for your mom, although you are still in the midst of the transition, taking care of so many details. And still taking care of her.

bootsie

Thanks Jan! Sometimes I still wake up in a panic. I think that I hear my Mom call my name and then I realize that she is not downstairs. I soothe myself by saying she is only 30 minutes away and tell myself that I have come this far so surely I can keep on going.

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